In 2009 Will Richardson, the operational commander for the fire service in Allerdale and Copeland, was Watch Manager at Whitehaven Fire Station.

He was forced to take a back seat in the emergency response after being trapped in his Cockermouth home as it flooded. He was eventually rescued by a team from the Coastguard.

He says the fire service learned a lot from the events of 2009 that made a big difference when the floodwaters rose again in 2015.

“The area of the rescue was unprecedented. If you have a building on fire you can probably surround the building with resources and deal with the incident. But this incident was miles long because it was the whole of Cockermouth and the surrounding area.

“Trying to control it was a big challenge. We had a fantastic response from Mountain Rescue, from Inland Rescue, from other brigades from Lancashire and Merseyside all coming with specialist teams.

“And there were all the buildings to check.

“There were people self deploying with boats too, which was a fantastic thing to do, they rescued a lot of people but it wasn’t easy for Command and Control to manage.

“The more it went on, to see the devastation, it was incredible and we had to get on with the clean up.

“We learned a lot from those floods. We needed to look at how to control such a huge incident. Usually you could cordon off an area and have an access point but how do you cordon off the whole of Cockermouth?

“Then there was equipment. Most of our firefighters were in fire kit and wellingtons. Now every one of them has own water rescue equipment.

“And, of course, we do a lot of training with local flood groups so we can mitigate the circumstances in the future, if it happens again. Which hopefully it won’t.”